Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

The following is a transcript of an interview with former Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, that aired on Oct. 22, 2023.

MARGARET BRENNAN 

We’re now joined by former Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney. Good morning, and good to have you here in person.

LIZ CHENEY

Thank you for having me, I appreciate it. Good to be here.

MARGARET BRENNAN

Well, we’ve been talking about what’s happening in the Middle East right now. I know you watch the region closely. President Biden counseled Netanyahu during his trip to Israel last week and repeated a certain phrase I want to play for you here in his Oval Office address.

CLIP OF PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: “I caution this while you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it. After 9/11 We were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”

MARGARET BRENNAN 

And that was a nod to 9/11 and the US invasion of Iraq, potentially an overreach. Do you agree with that warning President Biden is issuing there, that there is the risk here of Israel taking actions that could backfire on their own security?

LIZ CHENEY 

I think that our support and defense of Israel needs to be unwavering. I think that for the most part, that’s what President Biden has demonstrated. I thought that most of the themes that he laid out in his Oval Office address were exactly right about the importance of American leadership, the importance of understanding this is a battle between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny and terrorism. With respect to his comments about 9/11 and post-9/11, I would say the fact that we had not a single additional terrorist attack, mass casualty terrorist attack, in over 20 years now, demonstrates that the steps that we took were, in fact effective. And I would say the biggest mistake, frankly, post 9/11 was the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan that President Trump started, President Biden completed. So I think we need to set that we need to set set our differences about those issues aside, we certainly do have them. But with respect to what’s happening in the world today, I think it’s crucially important for the world to see that the United States, we are united across party lines in the defense of Israel and in the importance of the destroying Hamas, and also a very strong warning that the President has issued to Iran, and that, frankly, the Biden administration policy needs to be changed to make it consistent with the kind of warning that we’ve seen.

MARGARET BRENNAN 

But in terms of that comment about reacting from a place of rage and unintended consequences, Secretary Blinken said the only way to defeat an ideology is by offering a better alternative. What is the better alternative for conflict that has been going on for this many decades?

LIZ CHENEY 

There is no notion in which this is a battle of ideologies when you look at what Hamas did. And I think that the world has moved on far too quickly from what Hamas did. Hamas slaughtered innocents, they invaded Israel, and they slaughtered women and children and tortured people and raped people. And the fact that the world has moved on from that now, that is an ideology, if it even is one, of evil. And so, the way to battle that is making sure that you destroy Hamas, making sure that we sent a very clear message to Iran, that Iran will face severe consequences if it tries to get involved here. We also though need to recognize the the rising antisemitism and the expressions of antisemitism that we have seen across our country and across the world, since October 7, must be absolutely rejected. And the world must stand against that. So this is not a you know, moral equivalence. This is not a peace process question. This was out and out slaughter. And we absolutely stand against that.

MARGARET BRENNAN 

And CBS continues to tell those stories. So just to be clear, the journalists have not moved on. When will you make a decision about whether you want to run for president the United States?

LIZ CHENEY 

Well, what I am doing right now, what I will continue to do is very much focus on making sure that we get people elected at all levels, who are serious. People who believe in the Constitution. I think we’re at a moment in this nation where we certainly have seen we face significant threats internationally. We’ve got Iran, Russia, North Korea, China, arrayed against us. This is a threat atmosphere that we have not seen, certainly since the end of World War Two

MARGARET BRENNAN 

Bob Gates said ever.

LIZ CHENEY 

Right. Yes

MARGARET BRENNAN 

But it also said there’s no presidential alternative in terms of affirmative vision for America’s role in the world. Have you heard any candidates for president offer that vision?

LIZ CHENEY 

I think that certainly you have seen some? I think that it needs to be a much louder. We need a much louder voices within both parties within my own party. I don’t even know I should call it my own party within the Republican Party right now. The extent to which you’re seeing people suggest that we should abandon Ukraine, which essentially is surrendering in this battle between freedom and tyranny. And that would be very dangerous for our security.

MARGARET BRENNAN 

As you know, this massive national security package can’t pass until there’s a speaker of the house. Last month you said Congressman Patrick McHenry would make a great speaker of the house or it was earlier in October in a speech. He says he’s not looking for a job. What is the vision for it? Is there anyone who can lead it? Is that, is he an alternative?

LIZ CHENEY 

Look, I think what you’re seeing right now and among the Republicans in the House is a direct result of the decisions that Kevin McCarthy made to embrace Donald Trump, to embrace the most radical and extreme members of our party, that elevate them. So it’s not a surprise that we are where we are, but it’s a disgrace, and it’s an embarrassment. And there certainly are serious people among the Republicans. I hope that that one of them, particularly, I think it’s important somebody not be an election denier. And I also think everybody should be asked tomorrow night at the candidate forum about this issue of Ukraine assistance, and they should be asked from the perspective of, we face a global challenge and existential threat. And how in the world could anybody defend at this moment, surrendering to one of our adversaries by walking away from Ukraine?

MARGARET BRENNAN 

What do you think is driving the domestic threats against lawmakers within the Republican Party and also, among some Democrats?

LIZ CHENEY 

The domestic threats are absolutely being driven by Donald Trump and, unfortunately, some of his supporters who, in fact have encouraged and taken steps that have resulted in, as we saw on January 6, political violence. When you have a member of Congress reportedly, like Warren Davidson from Ohio, who, in the meeting with Jim Jordan last week, when some of the holdouts raised with Jordan, the fact that they were getting death threats. One of them told me that in response, Congressman Davidson said, Well, that’s not Jim Jordan’s fault. That’s your fault for voting against him. That is the kind of encouragement and acceptance of violence that is absolutely has no place in this party, should have no place in our country.

MARGARET BRENNAN 

It’s intimidation.

LIZ CHENEY 

It is.

MARGARET BRENNAN 

Congresswoman, it’s great to have you here.

LIZ CHENEY 

Great to be here. Thank you, Margaret.

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